Amy Tan Wraps Distinguished Speaker Series

Amy Tan, whose internationally acclaimed novels often cut through cultural differences to explore the commonalities of families and fate, will be speaking in Pasadena as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series at 8 p.m. May 25 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, 300 E. Green St. in Pasadena.

Among the writers who hail from Eastern cultures, few are as well known as Tan, the author of the bestseller The Joy Luck Club. Her books have been celebrated for their exposure of the Chinese culture, which is the subject that she mainly focuses on. Her books are based mostly on her own experiences as well as those of family members and friends.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Tan spent her early years in California, until her father and older brother died of brain tumors. Her mother moved the family to Europe, where Tan finished high school in Montreux, Switzerland. She attended Linfield College in Oregon where she met her husband, Lou DeMattei. Later, she earned degrees in English and linguistics from San Jose State University. She went on to become a language development specialist and a successful freelance business writer before quitting to write fiction. She finally settled down in San Francisco with her husband, where she became a writing sensation.

Her first break in writing came in 1985, when Tan wrote the story "Rules of the Game" for a workshop. This story was later interwoven into "The Joy Luck Club," Tan's first and most successful work of fiction, which was the book that stayed the longest time on the The New York Times bestseller list in 1989. It was also this book that won Tan many awards, including a selection of finalist for the National Book Award, as well as the Commonwealth Club Gold Award. Her other two books, "The Kitchen God's Wife" and "The Hundred Secret Senses," have also infiltrated the bestseller lists and her works, especially "The Joy Luck Club," have been translated into more than 20 languages.

A passionate advocate of First Amendment rights and literacy and an accomplished musician, Tan is a member of the popular literary garage band Rock Bottom Remainders with novelist Stephen King and humor columnist Dave Barry. The group performs around the country.

Tan is the final appearance of seven talks offered as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series of Pasadena.

Individual tickets to Tan's lecture range from $38 to $50 each and can be purchased at the Pasadena Civic Box Office by calling 626-449-7360 or through TicketMaster.

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